Last update: 07:00 | 30/03/2016
VietNamNet Bridge – Getting married is an important event in a person’s life. Khmer boys and girls are free to date but must follow many rules and customs for marriage.
The groom's representative presents wedding gifts to the bride
The wedding season of the Khmer is from the 1st to the 3rd lunar month, after the farm work is done.
The family of Chau Chan Da in Tri Ton District, An Giang Province, is preparing for the wedding of Da’s son.
The groom, Chau Lim, works in the public security sector, and the bride, Thach Thi Nhon, is a fourth-year university student.
After two years of dating, they have decided to get marriage. The groom’s family brings fruits, flowers, betel leaves, and areca nuts to the bride’s house to make a marriage proposal.
Lim also gives the bride some money to prepare new clothes for the wedding ceremony. A 5-piece musical ensemble will heighten the solemn atmosphere of the proposal ceremony.
At the beginning of the proposal ceremony, representatives of the two families discuss the families of the groom and the bride.
The groom’s and bride’s relatives listen to the discussion. The two sides will mutually decide the wedding date.
Chau Chan Da said, “The representative should be a prestigious person with profound knowledge of the Khmer culture. He will chair many Khmer marriage rituals.”
A Khmer wedding ceremony used to be held over 3 days. Now it often takes just 2 days.
Key rituals must be followed, including taking the groom to the bride’s house, a hair-cutting ceremony, sprinkling areca flowers, monks praying, tying strings around the couples’ wrists, kowtowing to grandparents and parents, and entering the nuptial room.
The couple in the tying the strings ritual
The Khmer are matriarchal so the wedding ceremony is held at the bride’s house. The groom’s family, led by the master of ceremonies, brings offerings to the bride’s house.
The presents should include jewelry and scarves for the bride. The bride’s family locks the door with a thorny branch, symbolizing the girl’s virginity.
The groom’s representative brandishes a wooden sword and asks the bride’s family to open the door. The bride’s family beat gongs to signal the groom’s delegation to come in.
The bride and her bridemaids bring flowers to welcome the groom. The couples exchange wedding flowers and go inside the house and cheerful music and people calling out blessings.
The couple will perform many rites including greeting grandparents and parents, giving presents to the bride, and bowing before the altar.
A man dances and sings around the couple and makes a symbolic gesture of cutting their hair to banish bad luck from their lives. In the evening, monks are invited to the bride’s house to pray for the couple’s happiness.
The next day, they continue with the rituals: rotating lanterns, tying strings on the couple’s wrists, entering the nuptial room, and sprinkling areca flowers for a blessing.
Bride Thach Thi Nhon shared, “I’m proud that my wedding follows traditional customs. These rituals are unique to the Khmer.”
After the rituals, the hosts and guests enjoy a party and participate in a folk dance called Lam Thon.